GREEN FINGERS: Get ready for the heatwave

By IW Jun 23, 2022

Well, if you were wondering when summer was going to arrive, then the wait is over with temperatures soaring this week.

Your plants are no different to you or me and will need a drink regularly so as not to go thirsty. Water early in the morning or during the evening. Plants do most of their growing during the night when the sap is high. Avoid watering in the heat of the day as this can cause leaf scorch and also much of the water would just evaporate.

Watch out for garden pests such as slugs, snails, greenfly and blackfly. I haven’t seen any greenfly as of yet but have seen the first signs of blackfly appear over the last week or so.

Take whatever measures you prefer to use; however, if you are going to use an insecticide, make sure you follow the instructions carefully. Only spraying on a calm warm evening around 9pm is best when the bees have gone to bed.

Only spray plants which are not in bloom. Any residue will have been absorbed by the plant by the time the bees wake up and are not interested in the leaves.

It’s not too late to sow vegetable seeds for a succession of crops such as carrots, beetroot, lettuce and beans. If your tomato plants have started to flower you can start feeding with a high potash fertiliser. This needs to be done regularly to avoid the fruits from rotting.

Summer fruits will soon start to ripen. We haven’t had much rainfall recently so they, too, would benefit from regular watering to help give you a large crop.

Keep picking your sweet peas every few days; this will encourage more flowers to form. Dahlias need feeding once a week and I would recommend a high nitrogen feed, such as soluble lawn food for two weeks, followed by a balanced feed.

Once you see buds beginning to form, switch to a high potash feed such as tomato food.

Oh, and watch the BBC coverage of Hampton Court Flower Show – you might just see someone you recognise!